Highway driving this summer and enjoying the fairly new Code Switch podcast. I also enjoy the written articles posted on NPR Code Switch site. Primarily enjoying the article on digital divides between Latino and Anglos.
The House of Order–stories, the first collection of composite stories by John Paul Jaramillo, presents a stark vision of American childhood and family, set in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.
Happy to hear my story “Arkansas Flood 1964” will soon have a home in Pilgrimage Magazine.
I was interested to find this update on the Neruda exumation. Seems that he was not poisoned but family not satisfied or convinced according to a few articles.
I’ve long read and admired Junot Diaz‘ style of prose. I’m almost embarrassed to say how much I’ve modeled my own work after his. This latest collection of work contains all the themes of trouble and failure at its heart. And also the redemption. I continue to admire how the work follows a consistent universe and also how his work stays composite. Overlapping. The voice here feels just as dynamic and strong as his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Drown.
A few months back I wrote a quick review of Daniel Chacon’s book Unending Rooms. I admire Chacon’s aesthetic and overall writerly choices. I look forward to picking up his novel and his other work Chicano Chicanery. His work at times is surreal and also thought provoking. I find his work here playful and intelligent. And I’ve been in the habit of reading work that is more composite in terms of plot or character lately but in his work it is also refreshing to see each story linked by idea or abstraction. So does he choose idea over characters? Perhaps, at times, yes. And I’m not sure we have a collection of complete stories. Felt more like fragments but I think that too serves the chaos that is Chacon’s style.
Neto was over on the bed shirtless and crudo, shaking his head at the reality of missing his father’s funeral service, when he raised both arms to smell his pits. He started digging in his jeans for a comb and pushed at his dark hair.
This was all in 1983, before the winter ended. I remember Neto often visited from New Mexico to the Abuelito’s home on Spruce Street in Huerfano, Colorado and slept off his drunks.
“There’s a lot of folks upstairs waiting on you, I said.
When he saw it was only me, he kicked off his sneakers and dropped his soiled pants and bent over in the posture of a small child. His nicotine stained fingers shoveled down the plate of rice and beans I had for him. He coughed and spat to the basement’s concrete floor.
“You the only Ortiz worth a damn left alive in this neighborhood,” he complained.
His clothes were in two great big garbage bags and he stood still a minute as I dragged his only collared shirt out from under his stash of nudie magazines and fungus-looking weed.
I put his clothes down deep in the washing machine and asked out loud if he was my father.
“Listen to what I say, Manito. I can tell you this. Born into this world alone and die alone,” Neto went on half-drunkenly. “Family will leave you. Women will leave you. All you have is your own damned self.”
The good folks at CIELO: Culturally Integrated Education for Latinos Organization here in Springfield, Illinois will be discussing my book at their August book club meeting. And they’ve invited me to come and discuss the book on Aug 6. I’m getting excited.
Here’s a quick excerpt from the writeup in the August San Francisco Book Review:
Star Rating: 5 out of 5
“Raw and highly emotional at times, Jaramillo’s stories give a realistic look in to the lives of his characters as he presents short vignettes that hint at a deeper family saga. His style is easy to read and his concise wording retains a surprising amount of detail. All in all, The House of Order is a compelling set of stories and should Jaramillo continue to present such fantastic storytelling, there is no doubt he will gain many new readers.”
From Swedes in the 1840s to southern African-Americans in the 1940s, newcomers helped strengthen Illinois with fresh ideas and energy. The process continues today with Latino immigrants, who will be the focus of a Cinco de Mayo discussion and celebration April 28 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
The free event, entitled “Recuerdos-Memories: Latino Experience in the Land of Lincoln,” runs from 1-5 p.m.
It begins with a round table in the library. Illinois judges,professors, educators and community activists will give brief presentations about their personal experiences with immigration or its role in their communities They’ll also discuss the generations-long history of Latinos in Illinois. A question-and-answer period will follow.
Afterward, visitors can enjoy refreshments and music in the library atrium. The group El Nuevo Trio Acapulco will perform “corridos,” which are Mexican ballads with themes of oppression, immigration, revolution and other social conditions.
“This event brings us together to explore the diversity within Illinois, the immigrant experience and the American dream. Lincoln and his tenacious pursuit of the American dream continues to be a global inspiration to those who want to improve life for themselves and those around them,” said Eileen Mackevich, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
The panelists discussing their personal experiences and the historic role of Latinos in Illinois include:
· Claudia Zabala, a dual-language teacher in Beardstown.
· Salvador Valadezof Bloomington, lead researcher for the McLean County Museum of History’s Latino History Project.
· John Paul Jaramillo, associate professor of creative writing at Lincoln Land Community College and author of the short-story compilation The House of Order.
· Manuel Barbosa of Elgin, who served 14 years as a judge on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois.
· Ricardo Montoya Picazo of Springfield, representing the Culturally Integrated Education for Latinos Organization.
This event builds on the presidential library’s exhibit on Benito Juarez, who is often called the Mexican Lincoln for presiding over Mexico during a period of war and social change in the 1860s.
Cinco de Mayo dates back to the 1862 Battle of Puebla, whenthe Mexican Army defeated the poorly prepared but vastly superior Frenchmilitary. After the defeat, Juarez instructed Mexican mariachi bands to playthe national anthem and lively corridos to mark Mexico’s victory. He laterdeclared Cinco de Mayo a holiday. Citizens turned out in lavish displays ofcolorful dress for a street festival filled with corridos music, dancing, andfood.
Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico today butremains popular with Mexican-Americans in the United States.
Refreshments are being provided by La Familia Mexican Bakeryin Beardstown.
Entertainment co-sponsored by Great Plains: Laborers-Employers Cooperative & Education Trust